Today’s Huffington Post carries the story of two lesbian Presbyterian colleagues I know and love, Jane Spahr and Lisa Bove (“Jane Spahr, Lesbian Presbyterian Minister Case to be Reviewed“).
Lisa was a student leader at the Westminster Presbyterian Church at The College of Wooster where I served as Pastor (1977-1983). She was an elder and campus leader there. She went on to seminary and was ordained a Minister of Word and Sacrament.
Jane and Lisa are those rare ministers of the gospel who, have managed to remain gentle and bold, acting in conscience and ecclesiastical disobedience without becoming hard or cynical. When you’ve been working for GLBT full inclusion as long as Jane and Lisa, it’s a testimony to their soulfulness that they have not become bitter or plunged into the quick sand of self-righteous. For Jane, Lisa, and so many of us, the Bible calls disciples of Jesus to live in love and to be advocates for justice. The Presbyterian Church (USA) last year restored an older principle of church order that removes the restriction against ordaining GLBT members. The issue of marriage remains contentious in the church, as it is in the society as a whole. Some pastors have declared that until church and civil law permit them to officiate at same-gender marriages, they will not officiate at any marriage, as a witness to justice. Jane and Lisa are sweet, sweet spirits whose integrous lives bear witness to justice, love, and peace, drawing from that inner light of courage, conscience and consolation that keeps them sane and strong.
I wish them well, and pray the Spirit’s guidance on the Permanent Judicial Commission reviewing the case.